Not hungry, just a lab

Anyone who has owned a Labrador knows just how greedy they are, and how much they love their food. They would eat all day if you let them! But just because they sniff at food, and give you those big puppydog eyes when you’re eating to make you feel guilty, doesn’t mean that they are starving and never get fed.

If you see how much food I give OJ, (a cup full twice a day) you’d probably think he’s being starved. Have you ever seen him? Have you even seen a picture? Does he look like a starved dog? I don’t think so! The food is royal canin
Which has all the nutrition this type of dog needs. He gets doggy treats too, but no human food at all and no extra half cup fulls for good behaviour!

Guide dogs have to be kept on a strict diet for many reasons:
-Just like humans, becoming overweight can make them feel lazy and tired, and leads to health problems.
-Feeding them titbits encourages them to beg for food, which they are not allowed to do. If I’m in a restaurant and OJ is drooling all over me and sniffing tables looking for food, it’s not going to look good, is it?
-If dogs take food from the ground or from strangers, they become distracted from their work and this could be dangerous for their handler.
-Guide dogs can have very sensitive stomachs because they only eat certain foods, so human food and dog food that they are not used to can make them throw up. Sick guide dog = stays at home = owner having to find their own way around without the dog = a complete nightmare!
-Unfamiliar food can result in an irregularity from the other end, which isn’t good when your dog is trained to go regularly (like clockwork as soon as its fed if you’re lucky) and you’ve to clean up after it in unexpected places.

Why do members of the public not believe us when we tell them this? Why do they believe that our dogs are constantly hungry and that they should be allowed to accept food from strangers? Would you tell a mother how to feed her child if you didn’t know her? Probably not. Our dogs obviously aren’t children, and I think its unrealistic to compare them to children, but they are our responsibility.
Why do people think that the best way to show your pet dog that you love it is to feed it and feed it and feed it some more? Try taking it for a walk and spending time with it instead.

99% of the time, people I explain this too are very understanding, but there’s always the awkward ones!


5 thoughts on “Not hungry, just a lab

  1. I have a close friend who's a trainer, so I was aware that I shouldn't pet or feed a working dog. However, I am a mom of toddlers, and I do constantly have strangers advising me on how I should raise them and feed them! I think I get more than my share of advice because people are fascinated by twins, but yes, strangers do try to feed my kids treats. I actually got into a heated argument with my doctor because he wanted me to give them cupcakes the day after Halloween, when I knew that any more sugar would give one of them diaper rash!

  2. Hi Jennifer and OJWe are so with you on this and don't know if we have told you this one before – but we were recently in Ikea here in Dublin and were stopped as we were leaving the restaurant area and while anwsering a question to a lovely lady – her husband tried to feed Clive 'meatballs'!!! Because he looked hungry he said! and you know as well as me that Clive did most certainly not look hungry!!We keep Clive on such a strict diet – Royal Canin and natural organic yogurt are his daily diet – any change and I certainly know about it when I am colleting up any poo!! But still people will think he deserves a treat!!Many thanks for your email and we're delighted to be back although perhaps a bit sooner than we thought!Have a good weekendFiona

  3. its not just the public, even guide dog owners are like this. Where i live there are 6 other GDO's and they moan at me because i dont give Uma treats and just give her dried food, she has a smokey bone which i give her every so often. Aparantly i'm cruel and dont love her! which is completely wrong. She doesnt look for food when were out and if she does come across something and picks it up and i notice she has it, i just tell her to leave it and she will drop it, she knows its naughty.

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